Former Edmonton Oilers great Wayne Gretzky poses for a photograph in Toronto on December 10, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

Former Edmonton Oilers great Wayne Gretzky poses for a photograph in Toronto on December 10, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

Wayne Gretzky steps down from front-office role with Edmonton Oilers

The 60-year-old says he will not be able to “dedicate the time nor effort needed to support this world-class organization’

Wayne Gretzky says he is stepping down as vice-chairman of the Edmonton Oilers.

Gretzky said in a statement on Twitter on Tuesday he is making the decision, “given the pandemic and other life changes.”

The 60-year-old Gretzky says he will not be able to “dedicate the time nor effort needed to support this world-class organization.”

The move comes one day after the Oilers were eliminated from the playoffs when the Winnipeg Jets completed a sweep of Edmonton in the first round. The Oilers featured the league’s top two regular-season scorers in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

“The Oilers, their fans and the city of Edmonton have meant the world to me for four decades — and that will never end,” Gretzky said.

The NHL’s all-time leading scorer and a four-time Stanley Cup winner as a player with Edmonton, Gretzky returned to a front-office role with the Oilers in 2016.

In his bio on the Oilers’ website, the team says Gretzky’s duties included working with the Oilers Entertainment Group team on the commercial side of the business, as well as supporting development initiatives in the district where the Rogers Place arena is located.

The team said Gretzky worked closely with owner Daryl Katz and Oilers chairman Bob Nicholson in all aspects of the organization.

Ken Holland is the team’s general manager and president of hockey operations.

Gretzky was not involved in day-to-day dealings with the media during his time in the Oilers front office.

Gretzky returned to his hometown of Brantford, Ont., after his dad, Walter, died in March and delivered an emotional eulogy in a nationally-televised ceremony.

Rogers Place opened in 2016, and co-hosted the Stanley Cup playoffs with Toronto last summer in front of no fans because of COVID-19. The Tampa Bay Lightning ended up hoisting the Stanley Cup in Edmonton.

The arena also was the site of the world junior hockey championship, played in front of no fans, during the most recent Christmas holidays.

As a player, Gretzky led the Oilers to four NHL titles before he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in a blockbuster deal in 1988. He went on to play for the St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers before retiring in 1999.

After his playing career, Gretzky went into coaching with the Phoenix Coyotes for four seasons.

Gretzky also was executive director of Canada’s men’s Olympic hockey team in 2002 and 2006. The ‘02 team won gold in Salt Lake City.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

NHL

Just Posted

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Alberta reports 100 new cases of COVID-19

The Central zone sits at 218 active cases

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer drops to 71 active cases of COVID-19

Province adds 127 new cases of the virus

Police officers and their dogs undergo training at the RCMP Police Dog Services training centre in Innisfail, Alta., on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. Mounties say they are searching for an armed and dangerous man near a provincial park in northern Alberta who is believed to have shot and killed a service dog during a police chase. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
RCMP search for armed man in northern Alberta after police dog shot and killed

Cpl. Deanna Fontaine says a police service dog named Jago was shot during the pursuit

Alberta now has 2,336 active cases of COVID-19, with 237 people in hospital, including 58 in intensive care. (Black Press file photo)
Red Deer down to 73 active cases of COVID-19, lowest since early November

The Central zone has 253 active cases of the virus

(Black Press File Photo)
Sylvan Lake RCMP charge youth with weapons offences

The public helped to identify the individual involved in an incident at the pier earlier this month

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

Orange shirts, shoes, flowers and messages are displayed on the steps outside the legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 following a ceremony hosted by the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations in honour of the 215 residential school children whose remains have been discovered buried near the facility in Kamloops, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Alberta city cancels Canada Day fireworks at site of former residential school

City of St. Albert says that the are where the display was planned, is the site of the former Youville Residential School

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

Most Read